Washington: At a time when people in the
Middle East are making moves to steer the region towards democracy, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Thursday said that the world admired India`s example as a true democracy.
"Momentous as the changes in the Middle East are, I
believe it is in the Asia-Pacific where the global order is
changing the most. We admire India`s example as a true
democracy," Gillard said in her address to the joint session
of the US Congress.
"We never forget Indonesia`s transition to create the
world`s third-largest democracy in the world`s largest Islamic
country. We applaud China`s lifting some 500 million people
out of poverty. The centre of global strategic and economic
weight is shifting to this region. The rise of the
Asia-Pacific will define our times," she said.
Gillard acknowledged that Australia`s relationship with
China is important and complex.
"We encourage China to engage as a good global citizen,
and we are clear-eyed about where differences do lie.
My guiding principle is that prosperity can be shared,"
she said. "Our growing engagement with key countries in the
region, like Japan, India, South Korea and Indonesia, is
Gillard, who is on her first official visit to the US
after becoming Australia`s first woman Prime Minister said,
"We will work closely with you to strengthen the fabric of
these relationships and underpin regional stability,
strengthening regional institutions, so that the countries of
the Asia-Pacific increasingly manage the frictions of a
growing and changing Asia-Pacific".
Gillard said new global realities and the emerging
economic weight of countries like China, India and Brazil
meant the vital forum for the global response was the leaders
of the G-20 nations.
"My predecessor, Kevin Rudd, worked hard to ensure this
was so. The world needed a global response to the economic
crisis, and global leadership was vital. Together the G-20
coordinated USD 5 trillion in fiscal stimulus for the global
economy," she said.
"While there has been very real pain, the global response
averted true economic disaster. Economic stimulus has been
crucial to limit the worst effects of the downturn.
Economic reform is crucial now to deliver the best hopes
for a strong recovery," she added.